After graduating college and depending on your talent, international experience and playing ability, an indoor professional volleyball player can be invited to play in a very faraway place like Russia or be recruited to play in a locale that's a lot closer like Puerto Rico.
Both places offer the possibility of earning more than a decent salary.
With the growth of volleyball and the continued worldwide popularity and organization of the sport, many different countries have organized national professional leagues that allow a specific number of foreign players to be recruited and paid to play with the best volleyball players in their country's professional leagues.
Ideally, a professional volleyball player should get paid a decent salary which can be based on a number of elements including their national team experience, international playing experience, popularity, and their volleyball agent or manager's ability to promote them internationally and to negotiate a good deal with a good team that will honor the terms of the contract.
Usually the volleyball federation that is in the country where a volleyball pro calls home, gets paid a fee for the "loan" of that player to the team they plan to play for.
The better and more well known the player is, the higher the fee their national federation can request as payment for the loan of that player to another country.
So, for example a volleyball professional that just graduated from college is lucky enough to find a team to play for professionally in Puerto Rico, her "transfer" fee would probably be less than an Olympic volleyball player who will go play on that same Puerto Rican professional volleyball team.
This is because an Olympic volleyball player will play in front of a worldwide crowd thanks to televised matches and thanks to the fact that in many countries, volleyball is so popular that their local, national and international matches are televised more than many of the football, baseball, basketball and hockey matches are here in the United States.
International and Olympic volleyball players, both male and female are extremely popular in many countries outside of the United States.
Top international players like USA's Kim Hill and China's Ting Zhu along with several others play for Vakifbank Sporting Volleyball Club one of the top women's volleyball clubs in the world. (2016)
USA's Kim Hill and teammate Serbian professional volleyball player superstar middle blocker Milena Rasic appear on Turkish TV for an interview...in English!
Volleyball professional player Milena Rasic is interviewed on Turkish TV
Many have more fans than the NBA players here in the US, and they are treated with the same level of hero worship that fans treat celebrities, because they are considered sports celebrities in many countries around the world.
Here's another example, three-time Olympian Paula Weishoff and I were professional volleyball players playing on the Braglia Cucine Reggio Emilia team in Italy.
I was a member of the US National Volleyball Team but Paula (now a three-time Olympic player and one-time Olympic assistant coach) was not only a Most Valuable Player in the 1984 Olympics but she had played in two more of them.
Among American volleyball professional players, because of her incredible athletic resume' Paula has had one of the more expensive transfer fees that foreign teams have had to pay in order for her to play professional volleyball in their country.
Recently the FIVB has made several changes to the "transfer" process where now everything is done online instead of the traditional way of doing everything on paper.
I remember that when I went to Italy each year I had to travel with all these copies of all these federation and transfer papers to give to the president and/or managers of the team I was going to play for.
Also, the FIVB will be the governing body of all transfers between National Federations inside their Confederation.
For an American who's a professional volleyball player who wants to start the online international transfer procedure, contact the best person ever...USA Volleyball Manager of International Programs Carla Hall at Carla.Hall@usav.org to request a username and password.
In my opinion, Carla Hall has to be one of the most well-informed people when it comes to helping and assisting US volleyball players who want to play professional volleyball abroad.
She helped me with all my transfers requests...from my first to my last.
I will always be grateful to Carla Hall.
For more information on the international transfer process check out:
The contract for a professional volleyball player will usually include a salary and living quarters which depending on how well a team knows you or how good an agent/manager you have, can be negotiated so that you share a place or have an apartment or house of your own.
I was a professional volleyball player in Italy for quite a while so I was given my own apartment, my own house and I've shared a place with one of my teammates, for use during the season I was contracted for.
I was also given the use of a car by the teams I played for.
My first year, thanks to professional volleyball player Elaine Roque I played in Parma, Italy.
She called me to take her place on her team in Parma since she was ready to come back to the United States.
I shared an apartment with UCLA middle blocker Merja Connolly.
After several years of living and playing in Italy and with the help of my Italian fiance at the time, when I took the place of Peruvian Olympian and Volleyball Hall of Fame Inductee Cecilia Tait on the Reggio Emilia team to be the other foreigner along with three-time Olympian Paula Weishoff, I had a huge apartment that had a lot of American amenities.
Of course our team's sponsor at the time was Braglia Cucine. "Cucine" means kitchen in Italian, so you can imagine that I was blessed with being given a large kitchen.
Depending on the country, the team, the sponsor and your agent, a professional volleyball players usually will have the use of a car included in the contract.
According to World of Volley in 2016 the top female professional volleyball players were:
Yeon-Koung Kim KOR Fenerbahce TUR 1,2M €
Tatyana Kosheleva RUS Eczacibasi TUR 1M €
Milena Rašić SRB Vakifbank TUR 350.000€
Sheilla Castro BRA .... 500.000€
Jordan Larson USA Eczacibasi TUR 1M €
Zhu Ting CHN Vakifbank TUR 1,1M € (the entire transfer)
Unless a pro volleyball player's apartment is next door or close to the gym, a car is needed to get to and from practice, shopping, travelling to the airport and regular trips around town.
Professional volleyball players will live and compete for seven to nine months out of the year in a foreign country. I've known many players who embraced the fact that they had a chance to learn a new language, a new culture and an opportunity to see the United States the way other people see it, from outside of the country.
I know other pro volleyball professionals who were homesick and snuck off and left their team before their contract was up.
That wasn't always the case but sometimes it happened.
Pro volleyball players are required to help their team win. That may take learning the culture, getting to know your teammates by speaking in sign language or some kind of hybrid English until your coach, the players and you understand each other.
That may take you playing in a volleyball position you've never played before, but it definitely takes a person who is unafraid to step up into a leadership position.
A volleyball pro plays for money and not just for the glory like they are used to doing in college.
What you do off the court, in your free time can become of interest to the team organization, team fans and the city journalists and gossipmongers who need to know what the local celebrities are doing, because now, you are considered a local celebrity.
If your team is on a losing streak and as a "professional" volleyball player you were seen partying in the pub on a regular basis the week before, you can best believe that your actions may have an effect on whether you get paid or not.
four Americans played together on the Italian A-1 Imoco Volleyball team In Conegliano including Megan Hodge Easy, Kelsey Robinson, Rachael Adams and Alisha Glass.
"Guaranteed" contracts are honored in the United States, but for a volleyball professional playing abroad, that isnt always the case.
As long as a professional volleyball player conducts themselves professionally, without giving the locals too many "off-the-court" things to talk about, then usually things go well.
The name of the game is to win.
Often a professional volleyball player is treated like a celebrity and frequently interviewed by the national television stations in the countries they play for.
Watch how much European fans love volleyball in these two Kim Hill interviews immediately after her Turkish Vakifbank team won the 2017 European (CEV) Championship!
In 2013, there were 173 female and 78 male Americans playing in professional volleyball leagues worldwide.
Where in the world are the females playing? USA Volleyball reports that 24 females are in Switzerland, 23 females in Germany, 18 females in France, 10 in Austria, 9 American men in Sweden, 8 men in Greece, 5 females and 4 males in Italy and 14 in Azerbaijian.
For the 2013-2014 season, American women are playing in 30 different countries, while American men are playing in 23 different countries.
Note that the best of the best are recruited to play in Russia, Italy, China, Japan, Brazil, Turkey and the new "hot" place Azerbaijian.
Find out where in the world the American volleyball players are playing on the USA Volleyball website.
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